Thursday, November 20, 2008

Social Conservatives Threaten Future of the Iowa Caucuses

Yesterday, the Washington Times took a look at the growing strength of social conservatives in the Iowa Republican Party and how that might affect the future of the Iowa Caucuses.

Possible Republican presidential candidates already are making Iowa a winter destination four years before the leadoff caucuses, but some wonder if the state Republican Party's drift to the right could hurt its influence in choosing a nominee capable of winning back the White House.

Weeks after voters elected Barack Obama president and increased Democratic majorities in Congress, social conservatives in Iowa who have a huge influence in state politics have indicated they won't back down. That has some Iowa Republicans worried the party is adopting too narrow a focus.

"We've gone so far to the social right, particularly in caucus attendees, that unless you meet certain litmus tests you have a very difficult time competing in Iowa," said Doug Gross, the party's 2002 gubernatorial nominee. "I think you'll have some candidates who won't compete here unless they perceive that's somehow changed."

David Roederer, who headed John McCain's Iowa campaign, agreed."I would not encourage a moderate to come right now and participate in the caucuses," Roederer said. "It is a danger for the party, and it is a danger for the future of the caucuses."
I heard an example of the contention between social conservatives and moderates on Steve Deace's radio show on Monday.  Deace was going after Doug Gross for not getting involved in the Des Moines School Board elections even though Gross is part of a lawsuit against the state over the state not having state standards in education.  Deace accused Gross of "raking up billable hours" and not working to solve the problem.

It will be interesting to see how this battle plays out in the next year.  The future of the Iowa caucuses might depend on the outcome.


Anonymous said...

There is a problem, quite obviously, for the GOP.

There will be candidates who WILL skip the caucus. For instance, if two of the three leading candidates
Romney, Huckabee and Palin are all in Iowa competitively, than I really don't see why moderates like Bobby Jindal or whoever else might come up would spend time in Iowa.

Overall I do not think Obama can be beat in Iowa, and I also do not know of any reason why the GOP would waste time and resources here

desmoinesdem said...

Jindal is not a moderate Republican.

But I agree that there may be one or more moderate GOP candidates who bypass the caucuses in 2012.